Search This Blog

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

What Could Have Been: B.O.O.: Bureau of Otherworldly Operations

B.O.O. was a DreamWorks film that was roughly 60% complete when it was canceled thanks to corporate restructuring (roughly 500 animators were laid off thanks to the underperformance of films like 2014's How To Train Your Dragon 2). Originally slated for a release in June 7, 2015, the film was sent back to being "in development" seven months prior to its release. Below, you'll discover what this film could have been.

Lights, Camera, Death: The Story of B.O.O.: Bureau of Otherworldly Operations

As stated before, the middling box office returns of How To Train Your Dragon 2 was a major blow to DreamWorks (this is also the reason it took half a decade for the third film to come out when it was originally slated for release back in 2017; it's quite amazing the film wasn't outright canned as you'll soon see). Under the reign of former Walt Disney Studios chairman, Jeffrey Katzenburg, DreamWorks had become something of a promising studio. The successes of the Shrek, Madagascar, and Kung Fu Panda franchises coming to be can be attributed to him. However, every success has its fall from grace and DreamWorks is no different.

When the major layoffs hit the studio, so to did several film cancellations—or in this case "reassessments". The films affected included:

Puss in Boots: Nine Lives and Forty Thieves; a film that's allegedly still in development despite Illumination Entertainment (the studio behind the wildly successful Despicable Me and Minions franchises) having plans to reboot both Shrek and Puss in Boots.

Madagascar 4; a film that was slated for release on May 18, 2018. There's no word on if it's been canceled or not.

Mumbai Musical; a film that was outright canned (at the time, it was known as the "Untitled Bollywood Musical").

Larrikins; a film that I'm not entirely sure was the product of the layoffs, but nevertheless was canceled outright. You can read a bit more about what this film was like here Shameless self promotion!

Allegedly, the reason for Shrek 5 being swapped out in favor of a complete reboot—despite Eddie Murphy, the voice of Donkey—having stated that the script was completed, is due to the restructuring that went on.

Cancellations weren't all that came with this restructuring. The delays of three films were products of these layoffs. They are:

How To Train Your Dragon 3 was delayed from June 9, 2017 to June 29, 2018. The film would later be delayed until it was finally released on February 22, 2019.

The Boss Baby was delayed from March 18, 2016 to January 13, 2017. The film would later be released on March 31, 2017 to modest reviews. Despite that, it was an enormous box office success, spawning a television series and a sequel that's slated for release on March 26, 2021.

Captain Underpants was delayed from January 13, 2017 to March 10, 2017. The film would later be released on May 21, 2017.

Now onto the titular film that we're going to discuss. B.O.O.: Bureau of Otherworldly Operations. The synopsis to this film is as follows:

This supernatural action comedy film follows two bumbling apparitions who find themselves in an extraordinary after-life adventure when they join the Bureau of Otherworldly Operations (B.O.O.) – the ghost world’s elite counter-haunting unit – and ultimately must face off against the planet’s greatest haunter.

The film was to be directed by Tony Leondis. His previous credits include Lilo & Stitch 2: Stitch Has a Glitch, Igor, the animated short Kung Fu Panda: Secrets of the Masters, and The Emoji Movie. Cast wise, the film featured the voices of Seth Rogen and Melissa McCarthy (who'd go on to star in another ghost-themed comedy: 2016's Ghostbusters). What this synopsis doesn't tell us is that Rogen was to star as a deceased father who joins the titular B.O.O. so he can spend time with the young son he left behind. Presumably, this son would be the Jimmy Neutron lookalike seen in the post and who's confronted by the spirit of a train conductor (who I believe is voiced by Tom Kenny, the man who voices SpongeBob). The film also had on board Bill Murray, Octavia Spencer, Rashida Jones, and Jennifer Coolidge. There's no known names to most of these characters, however at least one is known: Jackson Moss.

I have no idea which one is Jackson, but I once again assume it's the Jimmy Neutron lookalike.

As for other characters, you can see quite a few in this visual demonstration reel that was posted onto YouTube back in April of 2017.

According to a Yahoo article from three months ago, the aspect about Rogen voicing a dead father caused considerable concern among animators and higher-ups. Unsurprisingly, this didn't help the case when it came time to shelve various films to conserve money. As for how this film was canceled, it was apparently on extremely short notice, with the animators promptly being fired.

The likelihood of this film ever seeing the light of day is extremely slim. Sure, Leondis' Wikipedia page states that this film is slated for release in 2024. However, trust me, this isn't true. Animated films are extremely costly, time consuming, and require a lot more manpower than your normal live action film. Although this film's technically been shelved as opposed to completely canceled, it's unlikely to ever see the light of days without seeing a substantial overhaul in its current form (which would likely mean a rewrite of the script and a new director).

As for what this film could've been like, there exists some concept art and the videos above give a bit of insight into it. As such, I leave you with said concept art.

No comments:

Post a Comment